Sustainable landscaping is probably best defined as using gardening techniques that don’t harm your neighbors, now or in the future.

Rick Campbell, owner of Gnome Landscape Design and Masonry in Falmouth, will be using an open house from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at his company headquarters to teach his clients and potential clients some key points on sustainability and creating a healthy landscape.

Susan Carter, director of the landscape design division at Gnome, and Chace Campbell, Rick’s son and now a manager at the company, will be doing the presentation.

The highlight of the day, though, will be walking through Gnome’s display gardens, looking at the plants and the stone and concrete features that are a Gnome specialty.

Rick Campbell took me on a tour of the gardens a few days ago, pointing out plants that will be just about in full bloom for the open house, mentioning others that had bloomed earlier.

“A lot of these plants are rejects,” Campbell said, indicating a Japanese maple that had been snapped off near the base but is now growing to the side.

The garden includes a stone arch that Campbell entered in a Portland Flower Show almost 20 years ago, another feature from a more recent flower show, sections of paved walkway displaying dozens of possibilities of brick, stone or concrete laid out in different patterns.

The garden is a mix of plants you would recognize and others that are more unusual, laid out in ways to soften the sound from busy Route 1. It features a grass path in the front, and along the side has an area where people would gather, with a gazebo, horseshoe pits, hot tub with a stonewall surround and an outdoor kitchen.

Campbell said the plants in his garden do especially well because of the soil they use. All of the weeds, clippings and other organic refuse taken from the company’s job sites are brought back to the headquarters and placed in a monstrous compost pile. The site also has a huge pile of topsoil, and the two are mixed for planting.

During the open house, Gnome will be serving produce and products from the New Gloucester Community Market and burger sliders produced on the outdoor kitchen.

A small man-made stream flows through one section of the garden. Carter, during her presentation on healthy landscapes, will describe a system in which water from rooftops can be collected into underground storage systems for use in such water features. Gnome did not include that system in the display garden, but it is the kind of project the company has done for its clients.

Carter showed me an abbreviated version of the presentation she and Chace Campbell will do, and the emphasis is on limiting the use of chemicals in the landscape and minimizing runoff.

In addition to the Chace Campbell/Susan Carter talk at 1 p.m., there will be a talk on the emerald ash borer, Asian longhorn beetle and other invasive insects at 11 a.m.


Seacoast Watergarden Club, based in York County, is offering tours of garden ponds, noon to 4 p.m. every Sunday through Aug. 15, with the exception of July 4.

The first tour is today, and involves a series of 13 ponds in Durham, N.H. Lists of tours are available at the York Chamber of Commerce and at York County shops and garden centers. You also can go to

A donation of $2 per pond is requested. 

Tom Atwell can be contacted at 791-6362 or at:

[email protected]